|Heartburn Book Cover From Renee Thompson's blog|
When I picked up a copy of Nora Ephron's Heartburn at Kona Bay Books, (the BEST bookstore in town, hands down) the wonderful owner, herself a tiny little thing with a chic bob of silver hair, said, "You know, I remember when this book came out in the eighties. It was a game changer for women's lit." That seems like a pretty marvelous complement to me, because Chick Lit is an area in constant need of improvement.
Though I usually avoid fiction, this story grabbed me right away. It's about a cookbook author Rachel Samstat, who has just discovered her husband's infidelity after eight years of marriage. They have one child already, and she just happens to be seven months pregnant. She's crazy about this man, but not sure what to do when he steadfastly refuses to stop seeing his mistress. They live in Washington D.C and since gossip is the city's favorite past time, she is certain it will all come leaking out, adding public humiliation to private heartbreak. Loosely based on Ms. Ephron's real life break up with Carl Bernstein, the book feels raw and painful, but with enough distance and grace to make us laugh and cry right along with her.
Since the protagonist is a food professional, the book is sprinkled with recipes for things you'd want to eat in dark moments like this- crispy crunchy potatoes Anna, the perfect pot roast, and a gooey bread pudding. Delicious, buttery comfort food. There are lots of stories of food too- wonderful meals they shared with their best friends, another married couple who they "went steady" with. There is also a very dramatic moment with a frozen key lime pie, but I don't want to spoil the ending for you.
If you love great food, crisp writing, and a tale of a broken heart finding the strength to soldier on, make this your last read of the summer.